Guest Author

Dr. Alex da Silva

Alex received his Master’s degree in Microbiology in 1992. In the same year, he was accepted as a doctoral fellow at CDC in a collaborative program with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. During his graduate studies he participated in a number of scientific projects involving areas of immunology, molecular biology, pathogen discovery and developmental diagnostics. Alex received his PhD in Microbiology from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in 1996 and in 2000 he joined the CDC staff to become the director of the DPDx project which combines diagnostic assistance through telediagnosis and molecular diagnosis, technology transfer and training to strengthen diagnostic parasitology globally. Alex’s scientific interest extends from developmental diagnostics to discovery of pathogen associations and pathogen discovery.

To date, Alex has authored and co-authored over 70 peer-reviewed scientific publications in the scientific areas listed above. Alex was also a recipient of several awards, including the 2006 Secretary’s Award for participating in the relief response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Currently, in addition to the DPDx project, Alex also leads the CDC/DPD molecular diagnostic parasitology laboratory, which performs a core function of CDC by providing reference diagnosis to all US SHD and institutions around the world. This laboratory is specialized in identifying and addressing significant gaps in diagnostic parasitology as well as the use of molecular diagnostic tools to support epidemiologic investigations and to solve difficult cases of infections caused by parasites. To provide this level of diagnostic identification, the lab is routinely charged with the duty of identifying over 35 distinct species of parasites that have significant impact in public health; parasites that cause debilitating and fatal illness. To accomplish this, the lab uses and maintains no less than 25 distinct PCR-based assays (real-time and conventional PCR), 2 Luminex-based assays, and more than 10 distinct DNA sequencing analysis protocols. Hundreds of clinical samples are analyzed every year in this lab and the staff are always on the verge of developing or validating a new approach that will close a significant gap in diagnostic parasitology.

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